Encompassing the roman city of Chichester, the expansive South Downs National Park and plenty more in-between, here are some attractions for group trips along the newly launched ‘Great Sussex Way’.
Weald & Downland Living Museum
You may recognise the museum (pictured above) as being the home of the BBC’s The Repair Shop series - but there is much more than meets the eye. Set within a 40-acre site in the South Downs National Park, the collection of rescued rural buildings house a fascinating collection of more than 15,000 artefacts from years gone by.
Discover the stories of the people who lived and worked in them over a 1,000-year period from Anglo-Saxon to Edwardian times. Group bookings are usually accepted with offers and special rates available.
Once used to produce food for the nearby estate, Denmans Garden began as a market garden in 1946 under the ownership of Joyce Robinson and her husband who grew vegetables and cut flowers for Covent Garden Market in London.
The well-known garden designer, and author, John Brookes redesigned the garden and today it features dry riverbeds, gravel gardens, a walled garden and unusual plants from around the world. Group tours of the garden can be pre-booked and the Botanical Room can host private lunches and other events.
A trip to the city of Chichester is not complete without visiting the 900-year-old Cathedral, a living church with a spire that dominates the horizon for miles around. Guided group tours are normally available including specialist tours covering subjects such as: Chichester Cathedral Music, Stained Glass and Behind-the-scenes (which features the library, Cathedral Song School and the Bishop’s Chapel).
Chichester Festival Theatre
One of the UK’s flagship theatres, its bold thrust stage design makes it one of the most striking playhouses - equally suited to epic drama and musicals. Its studio theatre, the Minerva, is particularly noted for premieres of new work alongside intimate revivals.
There are discounts for groups of eight plus with a four-week reservation period and special catering offers. In advance of your visit, why not try out a 360 degree tour of the theatre online?
The Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre
The award-winning Novium Museum in Chichester is built over the remains of a Roman bathhouse and has three floors of exhibitions, telling the story of Chichester District and its rich heritage. It looks after 500,000 artefacts, both on display and in its store. The remains of the Roman baths fill much of the ground floor gallery, while a variety of permanent, temporary and travelling exhibitions cover the remaining floors.
West Dean Gardens
Inspired by its rich heritage and South Downs setting, the gardens include a Walled Kitchen Garden and 13 working Victorian glasshouses as well as a 300 foot Edwardian Pergola, and the 50-acre St Roche’s arboretum.
Located six miles north of Chichester, the gardens were transformed after the storm of 1987 and were brought up to the 21st century. Special offers apply for groups.
Accommodation tip - West Dean College of Arts and Conservation: Groups can stay at the college, which overlooks the West Dean Gardens, on a bed and breakfast basis.
The Great Sussex Way
The newly named area covers the north of the South Downs, taking in Petworth, continuing to Midhurst, travelling down to Chichester and across to the Manhood Peninsula, which includes Selsey and the Witterings. The team are hoping to release group visit itineraries later in the year.
For more information visit www.thegreatsussexway.org
Of note: not all of the places included may be accepting group visits at the time of enquiring/booking - we encourage group travel organisers to check the latest Government guidelines and local restrictions before travelling.